The prognostic value of quantitative angiogenesis in breast cancer and role of adhesion molecule expression in tumor endothelium.
Fox SB., Turner GD., Leek RD., Whitehouse RM., Gatter KC., Harris AL.
Angiogenesis is the formation of new capillaries from the existing vascular network and is essential for tumor growth and metastases. Increased microvessel density in breast cancer is associated with lymph node metastasis and reduced survival. We have assessed tumor vascularity in 211 breast carcinomas using a more rapid technique based on a Chalkley point eyepiece graticule. We confirmed using this method a significant reduction in overall survival between patients stratified by Chalkley count in both a univariate (p = 0.02) and multivariate (p = 0.05) analysis. Since studies have suggested that cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) might be important in the angiogenic process, and interaction of neoplastic cells with this neovasculature is a significant step in tumor metastasis, we have also examined the expression of CAMs in a subset of these tumors (n = 64). Using immunohistochemistry we observed widespread and intense staining on the endothelium of tumor-associated vessels for PECAM (100%), ICAM 1 (69%), and E- and P-selectins (52% and 59% of cases respectively). Endothelial expression of the selectins was more prominent at the tumor periphery. Immunoreactivity of ICAM-1 (34%), PECAM (1.6%), and E- and P-selectins (7% and 37% of cases respectively) was also observed on the neoplastic element of the tumors.